You’ve been making do with your old keyboard, but its not quite the right fit. Having a keyboard that meets your particular needs can improve your productivity and comfort as you work on your computer. You might need a compact keyboard that can connect to your various devices when you’re on the go. Or, you might want a keyboard that can endure exposure to the enemy of all electronics—water. I had a chance to take a look at two different keyboard offerings from Kensington that promise to meet these needs. Here’s what I found.
A note about Kensington packaging
I’ve been very happy to see Kensington embrace waste reduction as a part of their core business goals. The packages for both of the items I’m reviewing were almost completely made of recyclable cardboard. And the devices themselves are designed to minimize the amount of plastic used, and to maximize the recyclability of each device. I am a big fan of less packaging and more recycling.
Kensington multi-device dual wireless compact keyboard
If you have multiple devices, limited carrying capacity, and are often travelling, you are the type of person who would benefit from a small wireless keyboard like the Kensington multi-device dual wireless compact keyboard.
The Kensington wireless compact keyboard can connect to three(!) different devices at the same time, which allows you to quickly switch between devices as you work. It has both Bluetooth and 2.4GHz wireless RF connectivity options. But keep in mind that most devices don’t have built in RF receivers. So, if you want to use wireless RF, you’ll need to use the USB RF receiver with your device. This gets challenging if your device doesn’t have a USB port to spare. To achieve three devices connected at the same time, you’ll have two Bluetooth connections and one RF connection. I found the process to connect and switch between devices quick and easy.
Physical key characteristics
Despite being a compact keyboard, I noticed that the physical size of the key layout is identical to my 17” laptop’s keyboard. So you’re not losing functional typing space in comparison to a laptop. The keys are scissor-style keys. They offer more typing feedback than membrane keys, but a little less than mechanical keys. If you’re using a laptop, you already know what scissor keys feel like. The benefit of scissor keys is a lower profile, which is one of the features that makes this keyboard compact. I use a laptop as my primary PC, so I can confirm that the physical typing experience of the Kensington wireless compact keyboard is identical. It was very comfortable and easy to adapt to.
The Kensington wireless compact keyboard uses two AAA batteries as its power source. You’ll get a variable amount of life from these batteries, depending on how frequently you use the device. And the number of concurrent connections will also affect the power usage. But on the other hand, the keyboard is designed to use as little power as possible, so you won’t be replacing the batteries very often. But always remember to turn the keyboard off when not in use. I did not need to replace the batteries during my time reviewing the keyboard, even after heavy usage with three devices constantly connected.
Wipe down protection
A keyboard that travels with you to different locations will end up getting messy, because the world is a messy place. The Kensington wireless compact keyboard has wipe down protection, which means it is resistant to damage from cleaning agents like solvents or bleach. I hope you’re never in the situation where you need to bleach clean your keyboard, but at least you can be sure that the bleach won’t cause permanent damage. I am a slob, so there is a chance that someday I would need to deep clean my keyboard. Don’t judge me.
Kensington Pro Fit washable wired desktop set
The Kensington Pro Fit washable wired desktop set is actually a keyboard and mouse package deal, and both devices are washable. Yes, you heard that correctly. You can submerge the keyboard and mouse almost completely in water, in pursuit of a thorough cleaning. But you cannot allow the USB connector to enter the water. The USB is the Achilles’ heel for both the mouse and keyboard. But as long as you keep the connector dry, you can wash the keyboard and mouse to your heart’s content.
Wipe down protection and antimicrobial plastic
To further protect the keyboard and mouse from dirt and grime, the Kensington Pro Fit washable wired desktop set is resistant to microbes, and damage from solvents or bleach. At first I couldn’t imagine what situation you’d be working in where you’d regularly need to bleach, scrub, and submerge your keyboard and mouse. But then I remembered back to working from home with my four-year-old. Peanut butter on everything. A juice cup spilled at random times throughout the day. Everything was so very sticky. Now I know how I could have saved myself some unpleasant typing moments. So if you get this keyboard and mouse set, you’ll be able to scour the devices clean when needed, without worrying about causing damage.
Power supply and connectivity
The Kensington Pro Fit washable wired desktop set is a pair of wired devices, so they connect to your computer via USB. And they draw power through the wired connection as well. This does reduce some of the usage flexibility, since you need to keep both devices within cord length of the USB ports. And wired connection also means you’ll have to manage the cables to avoid clutter in your workspace. But, there is not a more reliable connection or power supply than a wired USB connection.
Which Kensington keyboard is for you?
Both the washable wired combo and the compact keyboard offer something unique to the user, and they each deliver on those offers. I found the quality and performance of the devices to be consistently good, and it’s easy to recommend them for daily productivity use.
The Kensington multi-device dual wireless compact keyboard is perfect if you have places to go and work to get done. Your multiple devices go with you to client meetings and social gatherings, so you need a keyboard that can travel with you. The Kensington multi-device dual wireless compact keyboard makes it easier to get your work done as you go through your very mobile day, and it seamlessly switches connection to your phone or tablet as needed.
The Kensington Pro Fit washable wired desktop set is the choice to make if you need a reliable keyboard and mouse for your home office, but you also need to keep an eye on your expenses. Its price is budget friendly, the connection reliable, and the ability to clean both the mouse and keyboard thoroughly gives the set even more value for anyone working in a messy environment.
Both of these Kensington products are more than capable of filling the role of your reliable day-to-day keyboard, and their additional features make them very useful for your unique situation. You can check these and more keyboard and mice options out at Best Buy. Happy shopping!